The new apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate says his main task will be to promote dialogue among Christians in the Holy Land — and between Christians and other religious groups.
Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa took office on Wednesday as the temporary chief clergyman to the local Catholic population.
The Italian-born Fr Pizzaballa, a Franciscan priest, replaces Fr Fouad Twal, who reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. The patriarch has traditionally been a native Arabic speaker, helping serve the local population. Fr Pizzaballa, a 51-year-old Italian, says there’s been no change in policy and he’d hold the position until a “proper and better candidate” was selected.
For the past 12 years, Fr Pizzaballa has led the body responsible for protecting Church holy sites in the Middle East.